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Padraig Harrington Gets It

Greetings Golfers,

Modern golf instruction has tried to take the hands out of the golf swing. Since your hands are your link to the golf club … I think this concept is misguided. I believe you need highly-trained hands to play good golf.

Last week, Padraig Harrington played with some amateur golfers at the Dunhill Links Championship.

Here’s one of Paddy’s tweets afterward:

“A point from watching the ams. The only thing that squares the club face is your hands, not your hips, not your turn.Yes your turn can change where your hands are but you are probably better focusing on your hands and let your turn react to them.”


Most amateurs don’t know how to control the ball … because they don’t know how to control the club with their hands.

When you play ping-pong do you worry about your hip-turn? Does your body control the ping-pong paddle?

The golf club is just a longer ping-pong paddle. 

You wind-up your body so you can hit the ball farther … but your body doesn’t hit the ball … your hands do.

Do you putt with your hips? Some people are into “shoulder putting”. They say that your hands are not reliable … especially when you get nervous. Hmmm. 

When I was a young sales-rep, I went out to dinner with my sales-manager. I was nervous. But my hands worked fine … I didn’t shove my fork into my eye. 

Using the hands is not the problem. Untrained hands are the problem.

And the hands are not just for control … proper use of the hands and wrists and arms supply most of the power in the golf swing.

Here’s another tweet from Paddy:

“Most ams believe turning faster/more open adds power. In a perfect world yes, but generally this isn’t the case for the ams as their arms just don’t keep up. Most of the speed in the swing comes from the arms and hands. Focus on moving these fast and let the body respond to them.”

You even see this in baseball. When high-school players hit the ball into the outfield, it usually slices. When MLB players hit the ball into the outfield, it usually hooks. Not because of body action … MLB players have great bat speed from their hands and arms.

Tour players have that same type of club speed … so to minimize hooking and retain power … they try to slow down their hands and use more body.

That’s suicide for most amateur players.

Here’s another great tweet from Paddy:
“To learn the feel of a square club face … work alternate shots with your hands/clubface extremely shut and then extremely open at impact. It’s hard to feel a small change, that’s why you practice the extreme alternatives that would be too much to use on the course.”

Padraig Harrington makes sense … maybe he should run for office.



Tom Abts
GM/Head PGA Professional
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